This book studies the early development of Skanda-Kārttikeya’s Hindu cult from its earliest textual and material sources to the end of the Gupta Empire in the north of India. The text argues that Skanda’s early ‘popular’ cult is found in Graha and Mātṛ traditions oriented towards appeasing potentially dangerous spirits. Once propitiated, however, Skanda and his Grahas/ Mātṛs could become fierce protectors of their followers. During the Kuṣāṇa and Gupta empires, this tradition gains the attention of rulers, who transform the deity’s protective cult into one focused on the ruler’s military prowess and right to rule. Once detached from his former popular traditions the deity’s cult begins to falter in the north as it becomes increasingly focused on elite agendas.

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Keywords Asian Studies›South Asia, Asian Studies›Religion
Publisher Brill
ISBN 978-90-04-21754-6
Series Brill's Indological Library
Mann, R. (2012). The Rise of Mahāsena. Brill's Indological Library. Brill.

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